AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Mayakovsky's Hammer : Experimental Theatre as Romantic Modernism, Sydney, 1968-1970
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Fredric Jameson has written of the 'structures of feeling' immanent to the postmodern condition: the breakdown of temporality and the associated experience of euphoric, intoxicating intensity, what he calls 'postmodern schizo-fragmentation'. For Jameson, this contrasts with the 'anxieties and hysterias' of modernism. 

'Taking up Jameson's concern with what, for want of a better term, we might call the 'dominant moods' of modernism and postmodernism, this article seeks to nuance and expand our understanding of modernism as it was lived and experienced. Specifically, I turn to Robert Genter's identification of 'Romantic Modernism', characterised, in contrast to high modernism's preoccupation with formal innovation, in terms of a search for redemption through sublime, primitive innocence, and instinctuality.

'I use this rubric to think about the work of a handful of innovative theatre-makers working in Sydney in the late 1960s: a brief, romantic modernist moment blooming in the years immediately prior to, and to a large extent overwhelmed by, the Australian New Wave theatre of the early 1970s. Those artists are Nico Lathouris, one of the driving forces behind the Performance Syndicate and the attempts to create a collective practice based upon Grotowski's writings, and the experimental group called the Human Body, members of which included Clem Gorman, Judy (later Juno) Gemes and Johnny Allen.' (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Australasian Drama Studies Appraising Aesthetic Modernisms in Australian Theatre: Patrick White and Beyond no. 71 October 2017 12749766 2017 periodical issue

    'This Special Issue began life as a one-day symposium at the University of Melbourne in November 2015, called ‘Reappraising Aesthetic Modernisms in Australian Theatre: Patrick White and Beyond’. It aimed to re-engage with the question of modernism as a style, a question of form and an approach to dramaturgy and theatricality in the Australian and international contexts. Some of the articles in this issue were first presented at the Melbourne symposium, while those by theatre artists Kerry Dwyer and Nicola Heywood started out as talks given at ‘Ten Questions about the Australian Theatrical Avant-Garde’, a symposium held at the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney in November 2016, co-convened by Ian Maxwell and Mike Mullins. As a collection, the articles featured in this issue address the question and the problem of aesthetic modernism and its impact on twentieth-century Australian playwriting, performance and staging practices.' (Editorial introduction)

    pg. 112-136
Last amended 19 Jan 2018 12:46:39
112-136 Mayakovsky's Hammer : Experimental Theatre as Romantic Modernism, Sydney, 1968-1970small AustLit logo Australasian Drama Studies